Getting from Detroit, Michigan to New Orleans Louisiana could not have been more fun and unique. I had my fill of bourbon, live music, open country roads and southern comfort food – that is what I call a vacation!
This Christmas vacation Etienne and I went on a road trip to New Orleans. We were set on the destination for a while but only picked our route the evening before we left (talk about procrastination). We were really pleased with the stops we made and had a great time staying in Airbnb’s along the way. Here is a Google map of our trip:
Road Trip HIGHLIGHTS
- Cincinnati for some Skyline chili & views
- Buffalo Trace Distillery
- Mammoth Caves
- Great Smoky Mountains
- Panama City
- New Orleans
- A Creole Plantation
We rented a small car for the week for $178 taxes included. We wanted to drive in comfort and not worry about putting wear and tear on our own personal vehicles. Our first stop was in Cincinnati for some Skyline chili! Yes, it is as scary as it looks.. The chili is very thinned/watery and you can have it with spaghetti or french fries and topped with a heaping pile of cheese (the best part).
Buffalo Trace Distillery, Kentucky
We then continued our drive to the Buffalo Trace Distillery! In Kentucky there are many Bourbon Distilleries and there exists a “Bourbon Trail” where you drive from one Distillery to another and try endless amounts of Bourbon. We picked Buffalo Trace because it is the oldest *continuously operating* distillery and I used to sell a lot of it when I was a bartender so I was curious as to why it was popular. We had an amazing FREE TOUR that was very educational about the process of distilling. Of course we walked away with 2 bottles of our favourite bourbons after sampling a bunch..
We spent our first night in Louisville and ate at one of the best barbecue dinners called Feast. This place has amazing bourbon slushies and Kentucky bourbon ales (beer that is aged in decanted bourbon barrels – IT’S SO GOOD).
Mammoth Caves, Kentucky
The next morning we drove to Kentucky’s Mammoth Caves. These caves claim the title of having the longest mapped tunnels in the world! We were all excited to enter this magical underground jungle and after taking one step through the door knew it was not what we expected. I think the name “mammoth” is a little misleading because you have to wedge yourself through the tiny crevices and there is nothing visibly mammoth like when your are down there. It is a really cool national park but be prepared to be a tad underwhelmed. I mean, where were the Mammoths?
We continued to Nashville for the evening and do a little bar hopping. We had a blast walking down the main street (Broadway) and listening to all the live music. The alcohol is a bit expensive but worth it for the experience. Our favourite bar/band happened to be off the main strip and it was a combined comedy show because they kept cracking up jokes. The drinks were also $2 for a beer so make sure to take a few steps off the main street!
Great Smoky Mountains, Tri-State area
At this point in our trip it was Christmas Day and we anticipated everything to be closed. We decided to head to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a drive down the famous Dragons Tail. We knew it was out of our way completely but didn’t mind driving through Tennessee in the open country roads.
Panama City, florida
We ended up staying in Panama City, Florida for the evening to get a little bit of beach time. We also wanted to work out in the morning so we decided to stay at a hotel on the beach and it was really nice and relaxing.
On our way over to new Orleans we had an amazing bagel breakfast at Thomas Donut and Snack Shop right on the beach!
New Orleans, Louisiana
We finally made it to our destination and were really excited to check out the City of Jazz!
A quick word of caution: Although it may be tempting, be careful where you decide to book your Airbnb. We did not know any districts of the city and did not know where to stay. We stayed in Treme and although it is full of history and culture, it didn’t feel like the safest neighborhood for tourists at night. For example, our Uber driver didn’t even want to drive us back to the house one night at 10 pm because he said it was too dangerous of an area..
Regardless, we really enjoyed walking the city and going to all the jazz bars along Frenchmen Street. The Warehouse district and Garden district were our favourite places to hang out, shop and eat.
Sarah- A Creole Plantation, Louisiana
On our way home we wanted to stop at a plantation to go back in time and see what it was like living and working at a Louisianan plantation. There are many to choose from and tours that take you from the city to the plantations located one hour away. We drove there on our own and picked the plantation that was the most french! It was called ‘Sarah, A Creole Plantation’. The tour was an hour long and went into the history of the families that owned the plantation over generations. It was definitely eye opening and authentic. A tour I definitely suggest going to if you visit New Orleans!
Oak Alley Plantation: